His­tory in the mak­ing – how new Me­dieval Quar­ter will look

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By JEN­NIFER WIL­LIAMS news­desk@men-news.co.uk @MENnews­desk

PLANS to com­pletely trans­form the area around Manch­ester Cathe­dral have been sub­mit­ted to the coun­cil - in­clud­ing a brand new tree-lined river park.

Ar­chi­tects Simp­sonHaugh have re­vealed their de­sign for the city’s ‘Me­dieval Quar­ter’ - the area sur­round­ing the cathe­dral and his­toric Chetham’s School of Mu­sic.

Their pro­pos­als, cur­rently be­ing looked at by plan­ning of­fi­cers, would cre­ate a new net­work of walk­ways and green spa­ces along the River Ir­well.

It is not only the first part of a planned up­grade for pub­lic space across the sur­round­ing area, in­clud­ing Vic­to­ria Sta­tion, the Na­tional Foot­ball Mu­seum and the Corn Ex­change, but the fi­nal part of the re­vamp planned in the wake of the IRA bomb in 1996.

The de­signs would see a new paved, tree-lined wa­ter­side route run­ning along the Ir­well from Vic­to­ria Bridge Street to the sta­tion, past a se­quence of green pock­ets it de­scribes as ‘rain gar­dens and re­flec­tion spa­ces.’

In the orig­i­nal master­plan for the area - ap­proved by the coun­cil two years ago - wil­low trees were iden­ti­fied for the park, a nod to the ‘with­ies’ of Withy Grove.

As well as the wil­low groves, the master­plan also out­lines stat­ues, memo­ri­als and pub­lic art for the route. New seat­ing would also be in­stalled, in­clud­ing around ter­raced lawns near to the cathe­dral it­self, which will have a clearer, more open en­trance onto Deans­gate, cre­at­ing a ‘front door’ for the en­tire area.

The lat­est plans are just the first part of the coun­cil’s pro­gramme to up­grade the en­tire area lead­ing from Vic­to­ria sta­tion through some of the old­est re­main­ing parts of the city, in­clud­ing the 17th Cen­tury Chetham’s build­ing.

Fu­ture phases will see new green space and seat­ing around the Corn Ex­change, ac­cord­ing to the 2016 master­plan, an im­proved pub­lic en­trance to the Na­tional Foot­ball Mu­seum and ac­cess to the arches that face onto the River Ir­well.

A master­plan of the new scheme

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